A physics link between venous stenosis and multiple sclerosis

Med Hypotheses. 2011 Dec;77(6):1074-8. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2011.09.006. Epub 2011 Sep 29.


This paper hypothesizes that a stenosis or obstruction at a lower extremity of an internal jugular vein (IJV) would, in accordance with the physics of fluid dynamics, cause a standing pressure wave within the vein. This pressure wave would possess regions of large pressure fluctuations and other regions of relatively little fluctuation which also have substantially lower peak pressure values. If the wavelength of the hypothesized pressure wave is comparable to the distance from the obstruction to the venule end of the capillary bed, then a region of high pressure fluctuation would exist at the venules. Depending on the degree of obstruction, the pressure fluctuations at the venules of the capillary bed would be substantially greater than those that would exist in a healthy unobstructed vein. This increase in blood pressure fluctuation located at the venule end of the capillary bed, which would be equivalent to local hypertension, is predicted to reduce the pressure drop across the bed which, in turn, would reduce blood flow through the bed in accordance with Darcy's Law. Such a reduction in blood flow through the bed would be accompanied by a reduction in the transfer of oxygen, glucose and other nutrients into the brain tissue in accordance with Fick's Principle. The reduction in oxygen levels in the brain tissue (i.e. hypoxia), would, in turn, be associated with increased fatigue and decreased mental acuity in the subject patient. Also the deprivation of oxygen in the brain tissue may result in the death of oligodendrocyte cells, which, in turn would result in the deterioration of the myelin surrounding the brain's neural axons. In addition, the paper also predicts that, in cases of extreme obstruction, the predicted localized hypertension at the venule end of the capillary bed may be sufficiently high to cause a localized disruption in the blood-brain barrier. Such a disruption of the blood-brain barrier could then allow the migration of leukocytes (auto-immune attack cells), from the blood into the brain tissue, enabling them to attack myelin, which has degenerated or deteriorated from the reduction in repair function normally provided by oligodendrocyte cells. Such leukocyte attack on myelin has long been associated with multiple sclerosis.

MeSH terms

  • Brain / blood supply*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Constriction, Pathologic / complications
  • Constriction, Pathologic / pathology
  • Humans
  • Jugular Veins / pathology*
  • Models, Biological
  • Multiple Sclerosis / etiology*
  • Oxygen / metabolism*
  • Regional Blood Flow / physiology*
  • Venous Pressure / physiology*
  • Venules / pathology*


  • Oxygen